Thursday, December 9, 2010

The New Testament and History

"Does it matter whether the New Testament documents are reliable or not? Is it so very important that we should be able to accept them as truly historical records? Some people will very confidently return a negative answer to both these questions. The fundamental principles of Christianity, they say, are laid down in the Sermon on the Mount and elsewhere in the New Testament; their validity is not affected by the truth or falsehood of the narrative framework in which they are set. Indeed, it may be that we know nothing certain about the Teacher into whose mouth they are put; the story of Jesus as it has come down to us may be myth or legend, but the teaching ascribed to Him-whether He was actually responsible for it or not-has a value all its own, and a man who accepts and follows that teaching can be a true Christian even if he believes that Christ never lived at all.

"This argument sounds plausible, and it may be applicable to some religions. It might be held, for example, that the ethics of Confucianism have an independent value quite apart from the story of the life of Confucius himself, just as the philosophy of Plato must be considered on its own merits, quite apart from the traditions that have come down to us about the life of Plato and the question of the extent of his indebtedness to Socrates. But the argument can be applied to the New Testament only if we ignore the real essence of Christianity...Read on

--->'Vandals have hacked at the heart of Christianity': 2,000-year-old Holy Thorn Tree of Glastonbury is cut down...

--->What do Starbucks and Wal-Mart have in common (click)...? [For our part we can support union organizing for workers or choose to patronize only local non-chain coffee and other shops. The billionaire CEO's demonize workers who seek a living wage and job protections as though it was the workers who are greedy. But we've all learned the wicked truth in the last two years...]

--->Senate on Thursday dealt a severe blow to the repeal of so-called “Don’t ask, don’t tell” law...

--->A sign of life in Europe. The chairman of the Nobel prize committee has called for the immediate release of jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, winner of the 2010 Peace Prize... [Any agitation against the totalitarian EYE and oligarchy in Beijing can only be a sign of life in the West I think. We're not quite dead then. So let's not give up hope.]

--->But...Camilla hit by rioter through car window as protesters attack royals... [Justice for offending bankers can stem much of this. But there has been no justice, it's all profits funneled to the top, with the people assuming all the costs. It is criminal.]

Unity of the human race: "This saying of Cicero is true: 'But they who say that regard is to be had to citizens, but that it is not to be had to foreigners, these destroy the common society of the human race.'" — Lactantius, The Divine Institutes, book 6, chapter 6; [Lactantius (c. 260-c. 330) was a Christian apologist removed from his post as teacher of rhetoric at Nicomedia upon his conversion to Christianity; thanks to Jim Forest for this.]

--->Orthodox Jews Begin to Reckon with Sexual Abuse...In Brooklyn last year, about 25 Orthodox men were arrested on sex abuse charges. This year in Lakewood, New Jersey, a predominantly Orthodox community, the local prosecutor has launched 29 sex crime investigations...

"Return to me, says the LORD .... Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty--Zech 1:3

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